Democratic Party files lawsuit alleging Russia, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks conspired to disrupt the 2016 campaign

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin talk at a November 2017 summit in Danang, Vietnam. (Jorge Silva/AP)
The Democratic National Committee filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Friday against the Russian government, the Trump campaign and the WikiLeaks organization alleging a far-reaching conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 campaign and tilt the election to Donald Trump.

The complaint, filed in federal district court in Manhattan, alleges that top Trump campaign officials conspired with the Russian government and its military spy agency to hurt Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and help Trump by hacking the computer networks of the Democratic Party and disseminating stolen material found there.

“During the 2016 presidential campaign, Russia launched an all-out assault on our democracy, and it found a willing and active partner in Donald Trump’s campaign,” DNC Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement.

“This constituted an act of unprecedented treachery: the campaign of a nominee for President of the United States in league with a hostile foreign power to bolster its own chance to win the presidency,” he said.

The case asserts that the Russian hacking campaign — combined with Trump associates’ contacts with Russia and the campaign’s public cheerleading of the hacks — amounted to an illegal conspiracy to interfere in the election that caused serious damage to the Democratic Party.

 2:37
Trump says allegations of collusion are a ’hoax’

President Trump on April 18 dismissed allegations that his campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 presidential election. 

Senate investigators and prosecutors for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III are still investigating whether Trump associates coordinated with the Russian efforts. Last month, House Intelligence Committee Republicans said they found no evidence that President Trump and his affiliates colluded with Russian officials to sway the election or that the Kremlin sought to help him — a conclusion rejected by the panel’s Democrats.

The president has repeatedly rejected any collusion or improper activity by his campaign. This week, he referred again in a tweet to the “phony Russia investigation where, by the way, there was NO COLLUSION (except by the Dems).”

Suing a foreign country may present legal challenges for the Democrats, in part because other nations have immunity from most U.S. lawsuits. The DNC’s complaint argues Russia is not entitled to the protection because the hack constituted a trespass on the party’s private property.

The lawsuit argues that Russia is not entitled to sovereign immunity in this case because “the DNC claims arise out of Russia’s trespass on to the DNC’s private servers . . . in order to steal trade secrets and commit economic espionage.”

The lawsuit echoes a similar legal tactic that the Democratic Party used during the Watergate scandal. In 1972, the DNC filed suit against then-President Richard Nixon’s reelection committee seeking $1 million in damages for the break-in at Democratic headquarters in the Watergate building.

 2:20
Bob Woodward explains why taped evidence was key in Watergate

Bob Woodward explains why taped evidence was key in Watergate 

The suit was denounced at the time by Nixon’s attorney general, John Mitchell, who called it a case of “sheer demagoguery” by the DNC. But the civil action brought by the DNC’s then-chairman, Lawrence F. O’Brien, was ultimately successful, yielding a $750,000 settlement from the Nixon campaign that was reached on the day in 1974 that Nixon left office.

The suit filed Friday seeks millions of dollars in compensation to offset damage it claims the party suffered from the hacks. The DNC argues that the cyberattack undermined its ability to communicate with voters, collect donations and operate effectively as its employees faced personal harassment and, in some cases, death threats.

The suit also seeks an acknowledgment from the defendants that they conspired to infiltrate the Democrats’ computers, steal information and disseminate it to influence the election.

To support its case, the lawsuit offers a detailed narrative of the DNC hacks, as well as episodes in which key Trump aides are alleged to have been told Russia held damaging information about Clinton.

Russia engaged in a “brazen attack on U.S. soil” the party alleges, a campaign that began with the cyberhack of its computer networks in 2015 and 2016. Trump campaign officials received repeated outreach from Russia, the suit says.

“Rather than report these repeated messages and communications that Russia intended to interfere in the U.S. election, the Trump campaign and its agents gleefully welcomed Russia’s help,” the party argues

Ultimately, Trump’s associates entered into an agreement with Russian agents “to promote Donald Trump’s candidacy through illegal means,” the suit concludes.

The suit does not name Trump as a defendant. Instead, it targets various Trump aides who met with people believed to be affiliated with Russia during the campaign, including the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., his son-in-law Jared Kushner, his campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Manafort’s deputy, Rick Gates.

Manafort and Gates were charged with money-laundering, fraud and tax evasion in a case brought by special prosecutors last year. In February, Gates pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to the FBI and is cooperating with investigators. Manafort has pleaded not guilty.

The DNC lawsuit also names as a defendant the Russian military intelligence service, the GRU, which has been accused by the U.S. government of orchestrating the hacks, as well as WikiLeaks, which published the DNC’s stolen emails, and the group’s founder Julian Assange.

The White House, the Russian Embassy, WikiLeaks and Assange had no immediate comment on Friday. A Manafort spokesman declined comment.

The lawsuit was also filed against Roger Stone, the longtime Trump confidante who claimed during the campaign that he was in contact with Assange.

The Trump advisers and associates have denied assisting Russia in its hacking campaign. Stone has denied any communication with Assange or advance knowledge of the document dumps by WikiLeaks, saying his comments about Assange were jokes or exaggerations.

The DNC lawsuit argues that the Russian government and the GRU violated a series of laws by orchestrating the secret intrusion into the Democrats’ computer systems, including statutes to protect trade secrets, prohibit wire tapping and prevent trespassing.

The party said the Trump defendants committed conspiracy through their interaction with Russian agents and their public encouragement of the hacking, with the campaign itself acting as a racketeering enterprise promoting illegal activity.

The complaint was filed on behalf of the party by the law firm of Cohen Milstein.

The suit contains previously undisclosed details, including that the specific date when it is believed theRussians breached the DNC computer system: July 27, 2015, according to forensic evidence cited in the filing.

The analysis shows the system was breached again on April 18, 2016. The first signs that hackers were siphoning documents and information from DNC systems on April 22. The suit notes that four days later, Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos was informed by Josef Mifsud, a London-based professor, that the Russians were in possession of thousands of emails that could be damaging to Clinton.

The list of defendants in the suit includes Papadopoulos and Mifsud, as well as Aras and Emin Agalarov, the wealthy Russian father and son who hosted the Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow in 2013. Trump, who owned the pageant, attended the event.

The Agalarovs also played a role in arranging a meeting for a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in New York in 2016, at which Donald Trump Jr. had expected to be given damaging information about Clinton.

Scott Balber, an attorney for the Agalarovs, said the allegations about his clients were “frivolous” and “a publicity stunt.”

“They had absolutely nothing to do with any alleged hacking of any Democratic computer system or any interference in the US election.”

The suit alleges that Trump’s personal and professional ties to Russia helped foster the conspiracy.

The DNC’s lawyers wrote that “long standing personal professional and financial ties to Russia and numerous individuals linked to the Russian government provided fertile ground for a conspiracy between the defendants to interfere in the 2016 elections.”

The lawsuit describes how the then-Soviet Union paid for Trump to travel Moscow in the 1980s.

It also details the history of Manafort and Gates, who worked for Russian-friendly factions in the Ukraine before joining the Trump campaign. Prosecutors have said they were in contact in 2016 with Konstantin Kilimnik, a former linguist in the Russian army who the FBI has alleged had ties to Russian intelligence.

Alice Crites contributed to this report.

US Democratic Party sues Russia, WikiLeaks, Donald Trump over 2016 election

The Democratic Party filed a suit against Russia, WikiLeaks and President Donald Trump, charging that they conspired to disrupt the 2016 election. Trump “gleefully welcomed Russia’s help,” the lawsuit claims.

Shadows on a US flag (Getty Images/S. Platt)

A new lawsuit from the US Democratic Party claims President Donald Trump conspired with the Russian government and Russia’s military intelligence service to hurt Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

The lawsuit, which was filed on Friday in the US federal court in Manhattan, claims Russia’s alleged hacking of Democratic Party computers tilted the 2016 election in Trump’s favor. In addition to Trump, Russia and WikiLeaks, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) also named Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and the president’s associate Roger Stone as defendants.

According to the court documents, the DNC also claims the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. secretly communicated with the WikiLeaks platform.

Read more: 21 US states targeted by Russian hackers, no votes changed

Watch video00:41

Trump dismisses CIA Russia hacking report

Attack on ‘American democracy’

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) said Moscow had “mounted a brazen attack on American democracy” by extracting emails and other documents and then publishing them via the WikiLeaks platform.

Trump “gleefully welcomed Russia’s help,” they added. They also accused the Trump campaign of being a “racketeering enterprise.”

Thousands of hacked emails and other DNC documents were published on the eve of the Democratic Party convention in July 2016 and drew global media attention during the tense presidential race between Clinton and Trump. Among other things, the emails showed the DNC working to undermine Clinton’s rival in the primaries, leftist Senator Bernie Sanders.

Both Moscow and the Trump administration repeatedly denied any collusion.

Read moreUS intelligence claims Putin ‘ordered’ involvement in US election

Watch video01:55

First charges in Trump Russia investigation

Help for Mueller?

President Trump and his inner circle had pre-existing contacts with Moscow and Russian oligarchs that enabled the collusion, according to the lawsuit.

“The conspiracy constituted an act of previously unimaginable treachery: the campaign of the presidential nominee of a major party in league with a hostile foreign power to bolster its own chance to win the presidency,” the lawsuit argues. “Under the laws of this nation, Russia and its co-conspirators must answer for these actions.”

Additionally, the lawsuit demands unspecified damages and a court order to prevent further interference with DNC computer systems.

The legal move comes as special counsel Robert Mueller leads a separate investigation into the alleged collusion with Russia. If it goes forward, the new DNC lawsuit could force the officials to reveal more documents connected with the issue.

Watch video02:10

Putin: Trump opponents ‘invented’ Russia scandal

More to come…

dj/msh (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)

COURTESY: DW

Media goes crazy over Trump announcement on Jerusalem, CNN’s sloppy mistake, and other journalism disasters

The media went nuts when President Trump announced Wednesday that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and will begin the process of relocating the American embassy there.

This freak-out came despite the fact that Congress overwhelmingly passed bipartisan legislation in 1995 stating that “the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.” And in June this year the Senate voted  90-0 to approve a resolution stating that “Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel.”

On top of that, candidate Trump promised many times during his presidential campaign that he would do exactly what he announced Wednesday.

The media were eager to blame President Trump when violent protests broke out following his announcement on Jerusalem, instead of blaming the Palestinians who were carrying out the violence.

CBS Correspondent Seth Doane warned of violence on a global scale: “There are concerns about violence not only here and across the Middle East, but this also could provide rationale for terrorist attacks in the West as well.”

CNN Global Affairs Analyst Aaron David Miller said President Trump’s action was like hitting Palestinians “over the head with a hammer.”

ABC described it as President Trump “reversing nearly seven decades of U.S. policy.” The network paid no heed to the law Congress passed 22 years ago making it U.S. policy to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

NBC’s Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel was especially apocalyptic. “I think a lot of countries are going to look at this and say the president took a dangerous foreign policy decision that has real world consequences, could – can cost lives for domestic reasons,” he told the MSNBC crowd. He also called it “profoundly unsettling.”

The pundits were even worse. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews warned, “By the way, deaths are coming now because of this.”

Actor Mark Ruffalo (“The Incredible Hulk”) showed the silliness of the Hollywood approach to foreign policy. He tweeted this gem, urging Israel not to respond to Palestinian violence and blaming Israel: “Isreal (sic), please show restraint in the face of these protests. This is a terrible blow to any hope for peace or a life beyond apartheid for your neighbors. Please, all parties, use restraint.”

2. This Is CNN: Things are always bad for a news outlet when your entire story blows up in your face because of sloppy reporting. Worse, when a competitor points it out to you. Here’s the CNN headline: “Exclusive: Email shows effort to give Trump campaign WikiLeaks documents.”

Now The Washington Post story, less than two hours later: “Email pointed Trump campaign to WikiLeaks documents that were already public.”

Conservatives descended on CNN online, mocking the error. Twitchy, which does a great job of monitoring Twitter, tore into the network, saying: “FAKE NEWS fail! Another CNN Trump ‘bombshell’ explodes in their faces.”

Daily Mail U.S. Political Editor David Martosko took CNN to task more than two hours after the Post story went online: “Still no correction on this dumpster fire @CNNPolitics.”

Nearly five hours after the incorrect story was posted, CNN’s PR department corrected the record. “CNN’s initial reporting of the date on an email sent to members of the Trump campaign about Wikileaks documents, which was confirmed by two sources to CNN, was incorrect,” the news channel said in a tweet.

However, CNN’s “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter made it plain the reporters won’t be punished. “A CNN spokeswoman says there will not be disciplinary action in this case because, unlike with Brian Ross/ABC, @MKRaju followed the editorial standards process. Multiple sources provided him with incorrect info,” Stelter  tweeted.

Essentially, their faulty processes let it happen so CNN’s OK with that.

The Daily Caller’s Amber Athey gave a detailed look at how much CNN had promoted the fake news story. “From 8 am ET to 1:30 pm ET, CNN spent close to a full hour on the story, gave it five breaking news banners, and brought on over a dozen guests to discuss the implications of the email sent to Trump Jr. The network led with the story on their 9 am, 10 am, and 11 am shows,” she explained. .

CNN wasn’t alone in the fiasco. CBS did it too, just with far less vigor.

3. Franken Resigns, Maybe: Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.,  threw himself on the altar of political expediency and announced he’s resigning – eventually. The move was to put further pressure on the GOP in the Alabama Senate race and comes after repeated allegations of groping by the comedian-turned-senator. It also gives him the option to change his mind if he doesn’t like the results of the Alabama Senate election.

But Franken is a popular liberal who many in the media grew up watching. So he had some defenders and the resignation was, naturally, used by journalists exactly as Democrats wanted, as a club against Republicans.

CNN host Michael Smerconish even became a groping truther and said he was “not convinced” Franken had actually groped KABC Radio host Leeann Tweeden. His defense? “There are shadows behind his fingers.”

MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell even lamented that “there does seem to be a rush to judgment in this case.” Apparently, MSNBC staff have not been briefed on the many allegations against Franken or this awful photo.

“Morning Joe” Co-Host Mika Brzezinski chimed in with the strangest response to Franken’s resignation: “This does not feel right.”

On MSNBC, Chris Matthews was a veritable quote machine. The “thrill up my leg” guy outdid himself, noting  that “the worst you can say about Democrats is they’re too pure.” He wasn’t as kind to the GOP. “The new Republican age of consent is 14,” if candidate Roy Moore wins in Alabama, Matthews said.

There was some gloom in Mudville, however. Some in the media were willing to point out that Franken didn’t apologize in his resignation speech. Lefty Vox referred to it as “Al Franken’s selfish, damaging resignation speech.”

And the Washington Post noted how Franken took the “No apology” route and even listed all of his eight accusers.

4. They Love Me, They Love Me Not: MSNBC cut ties with contributor Sam Seder over a 2009 tweet about director Roman Polanski, who fled the U.S. in 1978 after pleading guilty to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl.

Seder’s tweet was alarming: “Don’t care re Polanski, but I hope if my daughter is ever raped it is by an older truly talented man w/a great sense of mise en scene.”

MSNBC responded by letting Seder go. But that’s not where the story ended. The tweet was found and promoted by far-right’s Mike Cernovich and that helped Seder rally supportagainst the firing. Then MSNBC changed its mind.

Here’s how The Washington Post described the switcheroo: “On Thursday, the saga took another sharp turn: MSNBC reversed itself and hired back the lefty guy, Sam Seder, whom it had dismissed earlier in the week amid a pressure campaign from conservative conspiracy theorist and gadfly Mike Cernovich.”

That wasn’t the only weird MSNBC move this week. The network gave a complete pass to host Joy Reid for her anti-gay comments from 2007-2009. The attacks were mostly on former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, with Reid even referring to him as “Miss Charlie.” Reid apologized and said her comments were “insensitive, tone-deaf and dumb.”

That attitude doesn’t seem to apply to conservatives. Former CNN conservative Jeffrey Lord was canned for his sarcastic use of Twitter and saying “Sieg Heil!” to his critics, who he said was being fascist. CNN didn’t care when conservatives supported him.

5. Harassment Hits Keep Happening: Columbia Journalism Review tried to dig through the issue of sexual misconduct in journalism. It sent out a survey to 149 different news organizations and only one-third even opened it – including outlets like PBS, MSNBC, NBC, the New York Times and Huff Post. Not one of 149 outlets responded.

The roll call of media names linked to allegations of sexual misconduct also continued to grow. Here are a few highlights/lowlights:

Dylan Howard, “the top editor for the National Enquirer, Us Weekly and other major gossip publications,” “described his sexual partners in the newsroom, discussed female employees’ sex lives and forced women to watch or listen to pornographic material,” according to AP.

Netflix dropped actor Danny Masterson from “The Ranch” “amid multiple sexual assault allegations,” reported CNBC. “X-Men” director Bryan Singer is being sued for allegedly raping a 17-year-old boy back in 2003.

And MSNBC has benched former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. while it investigates allegations against him.

Hurray For Hollywood: Tinseltown outdid itself this week, led by foul-mouthed loon Chelsea Handler. She referred to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders as a “whore” and “that harlot that they are dressing up and trolloping out every day.”

And the dull return of “Will and Grace” tried desperately to shock viewers in its “Gay Olde Christmas” episode by calling Santa, “just another old white perv we once trusted.” Ho, ho, ho.

The anti-Trumpism keeps coming from Hollywood. ABC is giving Trump impersonator Alec Baldwin his own talk show, so I bet that will be neutral. Katniss is growing older but not wiser as the “Hunger Games” star Jennifer Lawrence said if she ever met Trump it “ends with a martini to the face.”

Dan Gainor is the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.

Courtesy: Fox News

 

West eyes recolonization of Africa by endless war; removing Gaddafi was just first step

Dan Glazebrook
Dan Glazebrook is a freelance political writer who has written for RT, Counterpunch, Z magazine, the Morning Star, the Guardian, the New Statesman, the Independent and Middle East Eye, amongst others. His first book “Divide and Ruin: The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis” was published by Liberation Media in October 2013. It featured a collection of articles written from 2009 onwards examining the links between economic collapse, the rise of the BRICS, war on Libya and Syria and ‘austerity’. He is currently researching a book on US-British use of sectarian death squads against independent states and movements from Northern Ireland and Central America in the 1970s and 80s to the Middle East and Africa today.
West eyes recolonization of Africa by endless war; removing Gaddafi was just first step
Exactly six years ago, on October 20th, 2011, Muammar Gaddafi was murdered, joining a long list of African revolutionaries martyred by the West for daring to dream of continental independence.

Earlier that day, Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte had been occupied by Western-backed militias, following a month-long battle during which NATO and its ‘rebel’ allies pounded the city’s hospitals and homes with artillery, cut off its water and electricity, and publicly proclaimed their desire to ‘starve [the city] into submission’. The last defenders of the city, including Gaddafi, fled Sirte that morning, but their convoy was tracked and strafed by NATO jets, killing 95 people. Gaddafi escaped the wreckage but was captured shortly afterward. I will spare you the gruesome details, which the Western media gloatingly broadcast across the world as a triumphant snuff movie, suffice to say that he was tortured and eventually shot dead.

We now know, if testimony from NATO’s key Libyan ally Mahmoud Jibril is to be believed, it was a foreign agent, likely French, who delivered the fatal bullet. His death was the culmination of not only seven months of NATO aggression, but of a campaign against Gaddafi and his movement, the West had been waging for over three decades.

Yet it was also the opening salvo in a new war – a war for the militarily recolonization of Africa.

The year 2009, two years before Gaddafi’s murder, was a pivotal one for US-African relations. First, because China overtook the US as the continent’s largest trading partner; and second because Gaddafi was elected president of the African Union.

The significance of both for the decline of US influence on the continent could not be clearer. While Gaddafi was spearheading attempts to unite Africa politically, committing serious amounts of Libyan oil wealth to make this dream a reality, China was quietly smashing the West’s monopoly over export markets and investment finance. Africa no longer had to go cap-in-hand to the IMF for loans, agreeing to whatever self-defeating terms were on offer, but could turn to China – or indeed Libya – for investment. And if the US threatened to cut them off from their markets, China would happily buy up whatever was on offer. Western economic domination of Africa was under threat as never before.

The response from the West, of course, was a military one. Economic dependence on the West – rapidly being shattered by Libya and China – would be replaced by a new military dependence. If African countries would no longer come begging for Western loans, export markets, and investment finance, they would have to be put in a position where they would come begging for Western military aid.

To this end, AFRICOM – the US army’s new ‘African command’ – had been launched the previous year, but humiliatingly for George W. Bush, not a single African country would agree to host its HQ; instead, it was forced to open shop in Stuttgart, Germany. Gaddafi had led African opposition to AFRICOM, as exasperated US diplomatic memos later revealed by WikiLeaks made clear. And US pleas to African leaders to embrace AFRICOM in the ‘fight against terrorism’ fell on deaf ears.

After all, as Mutassim Gaddafi, head of Libyan security, had explained to Hillary Clinton in 2009, North Africa already had an effective security system in place, through the African Union’s ‘standby forces,’ on the one hand, and CEN-SAD on the other. CEN-SAD was a regional security organization of Sahel and Saharan states, with a well-functioning security system, with Libya as the lynchpin. The sophisticated Libyan-led counter-terror structure meant there was simply no need for a US military presence. The job of Western planners, then, was to create such a need.

NATO’s destruction of Libya simultaneously achieved three strategic goals for the West’s plans for military expansion in Africa. Most obviously, it removed the biggest obstacle and opponent of such expansion, Gaddafi himself. With Gaddafi gone, and with a quiescent pro-NATO puppet government in charge of Libya, there was no longer any chance that Libya would act as a powerful force against Western militarism. Quite the contrary – Libya’s new government was utterly dependent on such militarism and knew it.
Secondly, NATO’s aggression served to bring about a total collapse of the delicate but effective North African security system, which had been underpinned by Libya. And finally, NATO’s annihilation of the Libyan state effectively turned the country over to the region’s death squads and terror groups. These groups were then able to loot Libya’s military arsenals and set up training camps at their leisure, using these to expand operations right across the region.

It is no coincidence that almost all of the recent terror attacks in North Africa – not to mention Manchester – have been either prepared in Libya or perpetrated by fighters trained in Libya. Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, ISIS, Mali’s Ansar Dine, and literally dozens of others, have all greatly benefited from the destruction of Libya.

By ensuring the spread of terror groups across the region, the Western powers had magically created a demand for their military assistance which hitherto did not exist. They had literally created a protection racket for Africa.

In an excellent piece of research published last year, Nick Turse wrote how the increase in AFRICOM operations across the continent has correlated precisely with the rise in terror threats. Its growth, he said, has been accompanied by “increasing numbers of lethal terror attacks across the continent including those in Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Tunisia.

In fact, data from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland shows that attacks have spiked over the last decade, roughly coinciding with AFRICOM’s establishment. In 2007, just before it became an independent command, there were fewer than 400 such incidents annually in sub-Saharan Africa. Last year, the number reached nearly 2,000. By AFRICOM’s own official standards, of course, this is a demonstration of a massive failure. Viewed from the perspective of the protection racket, however, it is a resounding success, with US military power smoothly reproducing the conditions for its own expansion.

This is the Africa policy Trump has now inherited. But because this policy has rarely been understood as the protection racket it really is, many commentators have, as with so many of Trump’s policies, mistakenly believed he is somehow ‘ignoring’ or ‘reversing’ the approach of his predecessors. In fact, far from abandoning this approach, Trump is escalating it with relish.

What the Trump administration is doing, as it is doing in pretty much every policy area, is stripping the previous policy of its ‘soft power’ niceties to reveal and extend the iron fist which has in fact been in the driving seat all along. Trump, with his open disdain for Africa, has effectively ended US development aid for Africa – slashing overall African aid levels by one third, and transferring responsibility for much of the rest from the Agency for International Development to the Pentagon – while openly tying aid to the advancement of “US national security objectives.”

‘US has enough roles’:  not interested in  nation-building

Read more: https://on.rt.com/89ft 

In other words, the US has made a strategic decision to drop the carrot in favor of the stick. Given the overwhelming superiority of Chinese development assistance, this is unsurprising. The US has decided to stop trying to compete in this area, and instead to ruthlessly and unambiguously pursue the military approach which the Bush and Obama administrations had already mapped out.

To this end, Trump has stepped up drone attacks, removing the (limited) restrictions that had been in place during the Obama era. The result has been a ramping up of civilian casualties, and consequently of the resentment and hatred which fuels militant recruitment. It is unlikely to be a coincidence, for example, that the al Shabaab truck bombing that killed over 300 people in Mogadishu last weekend was carried out by a man from a town in which had suffered a major drone attack on civilians, including women and children, in August.

Indeed, a detailed study by the United Nations recently concluded that in “a majority of cases, state action appears to be the primary factor finally pushing individuals into violent extremism in Africa.” Of more than 500 former members of militant organizations interviewed for the report, 71 percent pointed to “government action,” including “killing of a family member or friend” or “arrest of a family member or friend” as the incident that prompted them to join a group. And so the cycle continues: drone attacks breed recruitment, which produces further terror attacks, which leaves the states involved more dependent on US military support. Thus does the West create the demand for its own ‘products.’

It does so in another way as well. Alexander Cockburn, in his book ‘Kill Chain,’ explains how the policy of ‘targeted killings’ – another Obama policy ramped up under Trump – also increases the militancy of insurgent groups. Cockburn, reporting on a discussion with US soldiers about the efficacy of targeted killings, wrote that: “When the topic of conversation came round to ways of defeating the [roadside] bombs, everyone was in agreement. They would have charts up on the wall showing the insurgent cells they were facing, often with the names and pictures of the guys running them,” Rivolo remembers. “When we asked about going after the high-value individuals and what effect it was having, they’d say, ‘Oh yeah, we killed that guy last month, and we’re getting more IEDs than ever.’ They all said the same thing, point blank: ‘[O]nce you knock them off, a day later you have a new guy who’s smarter, younger, more aggressive and is out for revenge.”’

Alex de Waal has written how this is certainly true in Somalia, where, he says, “each dead leader is followed by a more radical deputy. After a failed attempt in January 2007, the US killed Al Shabaab’s commander, Aden Hashi Farah Ayro, in a May 2008 air strike. Ayro’s successor, Ahmed Abdi Godane (alias Mukhtar Abu Zubair), was worse, affiliating the organization with Al-Qaeda. The US succeeded in assassinating Godane in September 2014. In turn, Godane was succeeded by an even more determined extremist, Ahmad Omar (Abu Ubaidah). It was presumably Omar who ordered the recent attack in Mogadishu, the worst in the country’s recent history. If targeted killing remains a central strategy of the War on Terror”, De Waal wrote, “it is set to be an endless war.”

But endless war is the whole point. For not only does it force African countries, finally freeing themselves from dependence on the IMF, into dependence on AFRICOM; it also undermines China’s blossoming relationship with Africa.

Chinese trade and investment in Africa continues to grow apace. According to the China-Africa Research Initiative at John Hopkins University, Chinese FDI stocks in Africa had risen from just two percent of the value of US stocks in 2003 to 55 percent in 2015, when they totaled $35 billion. This proportion is likely to rapidly increase, given that “Between 2009 and 2012, China’s direct investment in Africa grew at an annual rate of 20.5 percent, while levels of US FDI flows to Africa declined by $8 billion in the wake of the global financial crisis”. Chinese-African trade, meanwhile, topped $200 billion in 2015.

China’s signature ‘One Belt One Road’ policy – to which President Xi Jinping has pledged $124 billion to create global trade routes designed to facilitate $2 trillion worth of annual trade – will also help to improve African links with China. Trump’s policy toward the project was summarised by Steve Bannon, his ideological mentor, and former chief strategist in just eight words: “Let’s go screw up One Belt One Road.” The West’s deeply destabilizing Africa policy – of simultaneously creating the conditions for armed groups to thrive while offering protection against them – goes some way toward realizing this ambitious goal. Removing Gaddafi was just the first step.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Courtesy: RT

Sean Hannity: The real list of reasons Hillary lost

Sean Hannity

Hillary Clinton was all smiles at the release of her new book, but the failed presidential candidate should be anything but happy, because the book, titled “What Happened,” is full of excuses, lies and fake news.

Crooked Hillary, as President Trump calls her, is in complete denial about why she actually lost the election. My colleague and friend, Gregg Jarrett, has put together a list of 32 reasons Clinton has given for why she lost. And the list grows and grows and grows as Clinton blames everyone and everything but herself and her terrible campaign for her defeat.

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White supremacists, voter ID laws, James Comey, Bernie Sanders, Facebook, Russia, WikiLeaks.

“And then let’s not forget sexism and misogyny, which are endemic to our society,” Clinton told CBS on its “Sunday Morning” show.

There is an alternative list of reasons for Clinton’s humiliating loss to President Trump. Topping it is the secret email server, on which she illegally sent and received sensitive government information makes the real list of reasons why she lost.

Clinton’s team deleted 33,000 emails using BleachBit — in other words, acid wash — after being served with a congressional subpoena. An aide also smashed those old mobile devices with a hammer. Can’t get the emails from there. Just as bad, members of the Clintons’ legal team did give the FBI Blackberries, but those Blackberries didn’t have SIM cards in them, rendering them meaningless.

Comey didn’t hurt her on this issue, he covered for her.

Also on the list is the crooked work of the Clinton Foundation, which took millions and millions of dollars from countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE and others – countries that treat women, gays, lesbians, Christians and Jews horribly.

Then there was the Uranium One deal, in which Hillary Clinton was one of nine people to approve the transfer of up to 20 percent of America’s uranium — the foundational material for nuclear weapons – to the Russians. The folks who profited from that deal ended up kicking back as much as $145 million to the Clinton Foundation.

And what about Hillary’s vow to put coal miners out of work and her refusal to campaign in states hard hit by the Obama economy?

Clinton’s own list of excuses is as pathetic as she is delusional. She can’t come to grips with the reality that she was a terrible candidate with no message, no vision for the American people.

The real reason she lost? Americans chose wisely on Nov. 8.

Adapted from Sean Hannity’s monologue on “Hannity,” Sept. 12, 2017

Sean Hannity currently serves as host of FOX News Channel’s (FNC) Hannity (weekdays 10-11PM/ET). He joined the network in 1996 and is based in New York. Click here for more information on Sean Hannity.

Courtesy, Fox News

CIA chief Pompeo brands WikiLeaks a ‘hostile’ spy agency

The director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, has branded WikiLeaks a “hostile intelligence agency,” claiming it represents a threat to US national security. The group has been accused of swaying the 2016 presidential election.

USA Mike Pompeo in Washington (picture-alliance/AP Photo/P. Martinez Monsivais)

In his first public speech since being appointed as CIA chief, Pompeo on Thursday said WikiLeaks was often abetted by other countries, adding that the group had “no moral compass.”

He claimed that – rather than opposing dictators and autocratic regimes – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was guilty of siding with them.

“WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service,” Pompeo said.

“I am quite confident that had Assange been around in the 30s, and the 40s and the 50s, he would have found himself on the wrong side of history. We know this because Assange and his ilk make common cause with dictators today.”

Read: Seven ways to keep the CIA out of your home

Pompeo said that while WikiLeaks claimed to be a champion of freedom, its members were more interested in their public profile.

“They try unsuccessfully to cloak themselves and their actions in the language of liberty and privacy, but in reality, they champion nothing but their own celebrity. Their currency is click bait. Their moral compass – non existent.”

Red faces for US officials

Last month, WikiLeaks published almost 8,000 documents saying they revealed secrets about CIA cyber espionage tools. Previously, it released 250,000 State Department cables and embarrassed the US military with logs from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Watch video02:16

WikiLeaks dump exposes CIA eavesdropping

US intelligence agencies claim Democratic emails released by WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential campaign had originally been hacked by Russia to swing the election against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton – in favor of Republican Donald Trump. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has denied that the release was intended to influence the election.

Before the November election, Trump said he was happy to see WikiLeaks publish private and politically damaging emails from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta.

Assange, from Australia, has been taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, after allegations of rape in Sweden, which he denies. Assange claims the proceedings are being used as a pretext to allow for his extradition to the US.

rc/bw (AFP, AP Reuters)

 

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House Democrat says Trump may have leaked government secrets

A remark that President Trump made to Fox News on Wednesday isn’t sitting well with the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, who is now suggesting that the commander-in-chief’s comments, if true, could be compared to the actions of government leakers.

In an exclusive interview with Fox’s Tucker Carlson on Wednesday night, President Trump suggested “the CIA was hacked and a lot of things were taken.” He added “that was during the Obama years. That was not during us.”

The president may have been referring to the recent publishing of what are alleged to be CIA documents and hacking tools by the website WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claims that the leaks are real, and highlight what he calls the “devastating incompetence” of the agency’s cybersecurity. The CIA has yet to confirm whether the materials are, in fact, authentic.

On Thursday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, took serious issue with the president’s suggestion that the agency was hacked. And Schiff says that, if true, the president’s comments are akin to the actions of those who leak government secrets.

WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS STAND BY TRUMP WIRETAPPING CLAIM

“It would be one thing if the president’s statements were the product of intelligence community discussion and a purposeful decision to disclose information to the public, but that is unlikely to be the case,” Schiff said in a statement.

He added that while he thinks “the president has the power to declassify whatever he wants… this should be done as the product of thoughtful consideration and with intense input from any agency affected. For anyone else to do what the president may have done, would constitute what he deplores as ‘leaks.'”

A Fox News poll released Wednesday shows a record 73 percent of voters have confidence in the CIA, up from 67 percent in December.

In recent weeks, the president has made clear his distaste for leakers. On February 24, the president lamented on Twitter that “the FBI is totally unable to stop the national security ‘leakers’ that have permeated our government for a long time… Classified information is being given to media that could have a devastating effect.”

Critics point to his support for WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign as evidence to the contrary. “I love WikiLeaks,” then-nominee Trump said during campaign remarks in October.

The investigation into possible CIA hacking isn’t the only thing over which Schiff seems to be at odds with Trump. On Wednesday, Schiff and House Intel Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) repeated their assertions that they have yet to see any evidence that supports the president’s claim that Trump Tower was the subject of wiretapping.

TRUMP GIVES CIA POWER TO LAUNCH DRONE STRIKES

And on Thursday, the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee took that assertion one step further, suggesting in a statement that they have seen no evidence that Trump Tower was under surveillance “by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016.”

In a March 4 tweet, the president suggested that “Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory.” When asked on Wednesday why he didn’t withhold comment until he had proof of his claim, President Trump told Tucker Carlson “don’t forget, when I say wiretapped, those words were in quotes… [T]hat really covers surveillance and many other things. And nobody ever talks about the fact that was in quotes, but that’s a very important thing.”

How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!

New Fox polling also suggests that 76 percent of voters think President Trump should produce documents to back his claim about the wiretaps. That includes 63 percent of Republicans and 70 percent of independents.

The Department of Justice has until Monday to comply with an order from the House Intelligence Committee to gather evidence related to President Trump’s surveillance claim, though Rep. Nunes suggests he expects some of that evidence on Friday.

Monday is also when the committee expects to hold its first open hearing on Russia’s interference in the 2016 race and possible contacts between Trump associates and Russia. FBI Director Comey is expected to face direct questioning at that hearing, and it isn’t just the House that’s looking for answers.

Senator Lindsay Graham suggested earlier this week that subpoenas aren’t out of the question if lawmakers don’t get the information they’re looking for.

“Congress,” Graham said, “is going to flex its muscles.”

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